The ongoing conflict involving Russia and Ukraine – with Russian President Vladimir Putin launching a full-scale invasion on 24 February – stems back to the 1950s with the transfer of Crimea.
The invasion of Ukraine, said to be the largest military attack in Europe since World War II, is an escalation of the 2014 Russo-Ukrainian war, when the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity (Maidan Revolution) ousted then-President Viktor Yanukovych.
Now in 2022, President Vladimir Putin questioned Ukraine’s right to statehood and accused the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) of threatening Russia’s security.
Russia-Ukraine war: 17 March 2022
Impact on SA fuel price
The Energy Department said South Africans may need to ration their fuel as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
It said fuel prices globally and indeed nationally have reached unsustainable levels while in South Africa’s fuel prices has reached record levels.
“This is a global issue and no country is going to be spared. Developing Economies will suffer more than developed countries, economies will struggle to support any form of growth. Increases in excess of than R2 per litre must be expected in this period.”
Russia-Ukraine conflict: Latest updates
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The transfer from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (SFSR) to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR), at the time described as a symbolic gesture, led to the re-establishment of Crimean autonomy in the early 1990s.
Then in 2014, the focus was once again on Crimea and parts of Donbas during the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity, resulting in the regions being internationally recognised as part of Ukraine.
At the time, the Euromaidan protests resulted in the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych on 22 February 2014.
In response, Russian soldiers surrounded and seized control of Crimea, defying the referendum of 1991.
Uprisings in Donbas turned into a full-blown war for control of Donetsk and Luhansk.
A stalemate eventually ensued after repeated failed attempts at a seize fire.
Russia could take ‘full control’
As Russian forces surround several Ukrainian cities, Moscow warns it could place them under the Kremlin’s “full control”.
Kyiv is hemmed in on two sides and drained of more than half of its three million residents with ongoing strikes on the capital killing at least two people on Monday.
Nine people die and another nine are injured when Russian forces hit a television tower outside the western Ukrainian city of Rivne, local authorities say.
Washington also expressed concern about “alignment” between Russia and China after marathon talks between US and Chinese officials.
The discussions come after reports Moscow is seeking military and economic support from Beijing. While declining to directly address the reports, China accuses Washington of spreading “disinformation” about its role in the conflict.
Economist Azar Jammine said the conflict in Ukraine could have both positive and negative effects for South Africa.
Jammine, director and chief economist of Econometrix, said South Africa has so far held strong.
One of the reasons for this is that commodity prices have increased.
The conflict between Russia and Western powers means there will be a shortage of minerals, such as palladium and oil.
This will be good and bad for South Africa.
“The shortage of palladium will benefit South Africa. However, the shortage of oil will lead to a rise in fuel prices,” said Jammine.
The economist, however, warned that South Africa’s economy will suffer in the long run once war was declared between Russia and Ukraine.
“For the whole, global economic growth will suffer and South Africa will be affected by this. But, for now the country is benefitting from the commodity price increases,” said Jammine.
UN chief Antonio Guterres warns that the world must act to prevent a “hurricane of hunger and a meltdown of the global food system” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.